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EDITORIAL: How the 1% plays

- Reuters

One of the stories in the National Post to launch Canadian summer?

The sale of a summer house for $2,875,000.

“This Huntsville property is like a miniature Algonquin Park and comes with a two-slip boat house, an island and two lakes,” the newspaper crows. “No matter which way they look at it, the view is grand. From the cottage or pool, the owners can gaze at their own private lake. When swimming in the lake or boating, they can look back and admire the custom-designed cottage and private grounds.” 

Look back and admire all the wonder that you own.

Meanwhile, at the other so-called national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, the topic was toys. Expensive toys. Actually, “Cottage toys for the ultra-rich.” 

The $150,000 NyDock floating boathouse, for example — or the “The Rand leisure boat, which starts at approximately $164,000, is aesthetically pleasing with a teak upper deck, sleek kitchen and an infotainment system. However, it’s the fume-free electric motors that make the boat perfect for areas where loud power boats are discouraged.” 

Maybe the $41,000 barbecue they are promoting will strike your fancy — no word in the story about whether it will rust out just as quickly as any other barbecue. You can, however, buy customized grill plates to sign every steak you cook.

Still, it is good to remember that our worth isn’t defined by the size and price of our most expensive plaything.

Or perhaps you can think even bigger, putting out $13.4 million for your own floating island, “with room for 12 residents on three floors. It can also accommodate up to four staff members, if needed, and can be used as a boutique hotel or restaurant.” (Are the help comfortable down there in steerage? But wait — why think about the help’s comforts, anyway?)

“Multiple outdoor decks allow for barbecue space, a Jacuzzi, lounging space, a fitness platform and ladders for water access. An outdoor storage facility is perfect for sport and diving equipment and mooring motor boats; the interior space has skylights, an aquarium and fully equipped staterooms. The lowest level is a large entertainment space with a kitchen.”

OK then.

Beyond the obvious question about both stories — who the heck are they writing for, anyway? — you’ve got to wonder about what the stories say about the disparity in this country between those who are trying to get by in times of rising costs, and those with enough money to waste it on spectacularly ostentatious toys.

Still, it is good to remember that our worth isn’t defined by the size and price of our most expensive plaything.

Because what exactly is wrong with an old tin kettle, a fishing rod, a package of hot dogs and a nice streamside fire before the woods get too dry?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.

Price tag? If you already have the fishing rod, $20 or so, all in.

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